I knew that becoming a mom would change me in many ways. I knew that my life would change, how I viewed the world would change, and even the way that I loved would change. The one thing that I never thought would change due to my child was my view of nutrition and how we eat.
Growing up I lived in a fairly strict household when it came to food. At the time I hated it, today I think it is one of the many things that my parents did that make me who I am today and I thank them for it. I was the skinny, picky kid who literally ate nothing. My favorite food was macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and everything else, yes I mean EVERYTHING else, was chopped liver as far as I was concerned. Despite this my parent were adamant that I would not grow up only eating macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. There were many things that my parents taught me that I still make sure to do to this day. The top three are:
Despite being very thin and a horrible eater my parents never ever commented to me about my weight. They never blamed me or used it as a way to guilt me into eating. Yet growing up I distinctly remember other parents talking to their daughters, my childhood friends, in this way. I remember one time vividly where one mom actually would tell her daughter that she was eating too much and it was her fault that she was heavy. Yet this was the same household that I would beg my parents to let me go spend the night because they were allowed to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast.
Now being a parent, as well as a nutritionist, and thinking back on these times I never realized how detrimental these words probably were to that friend and how much it affects her today as an adult. The way we talk to our kids about food and the way we teach our kids how to eat starts from day one. That mom had probably been telling her things like that for many years, she was enforcing in her this idea that food, all food, will make you fat, ugly, unhealthy, etc. We all act like this fight with body image and health is a new thing but it has been around for many many years. Lucky for us, today we have a better grasp on how we should talk about food and body image to our children.
One of the first things I want to point out here is that the relationship that WE have with food directly affects and influences the relationship our children have with food. It has been shown that if your kids see you eating healthy, nutritious foods they are more likely to eat those foods as they get older. Just the other day I was with my cousin and she asked her daughter what she wanted for lunch and her daughter said “a salad with chicken.” I was blown away, I looked at my cousin and asked her “would you have ever asked for that at her age, cause I know I wouldn’t have” and my cousin said “oh gosh no.” I know for a fact that my cousin has raised her kids eating a wide ranging diet with many healthy, nutritious foods and already at 7 my little cousin is asking for salads for a meal, and eating it all.
My next point may be a slightly controversial one, but needs to be said nonetheless. If we blame our children for the way that they eat we are creating a monster. We should 100% be blaming ourselves if our kids eat lucky charms for breakfast and cookies for lunch. We buy them their food, we are in charge of our children until they are 18 years old, we need to take responsibility from the get go. If your 7/8/9/10 year old isn’t eating well, maybe reconsider how you are eating, and think about ways that you can change yourself to be a better role model for your child.
My last point is a HUGE one. We should never, ever, ever tell our children they are fat, pigs, chubby. And we should never ever ever say it in relation to food. Granted, we often call my son a little chunker, or something along those lines, but it is 100% in a loving manner and it is because we LOVE his rolls. 18 month old's should be chubby with sweet little rolls, they are growing constantly and they need all of that to grow. My son has grown 4 or 5 inches in the last 6 months! He goes from having a sweet little belly to none, to having one again every other month. By no means does this mean if your kid isn’t roll filled something is wrong with them, every kid, heck every person, is different and has a different body type and that is just that. And remember too that many kids don’t lose those sweet rolls until they hit puberty or even after.
The main point that I am trying to make with all of this is that parents should start thinking a little bit more about how food is viewed, eaten, and talked about in there house. Remember that everything with kids is monkey see, monkey do. We are their role models, we are their mentors, we are their teachers, and often times we are their heros.
*******If you feel that you need help with eating better and how to teach your kids how to have a healthy relationship with food please contact me. If you feel that you or someone you know's relationship with food is to a point that it affects yours or their daily life and mental well being PLEASE CONTACT ME and I will put you in contact with some amazing professionals, along with myself, who can help you.********
One year ago today I got the best present I could have asked for, a little pink line a stick. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about the feelings that overwhelmed me when I saw that line appear. I had been waiting to see that for over a year and I think I was in disbelief when it happened. We had been trying to get pregnant for so long that I was at the point that I just wasn’t sure it was going to happen for us. But before I get too in to that let me start from the beginning.
For those of you that don’t know or haven’t read that blog post, I had a pretty tough miscarriage in the beginning of 2015 that took a toll on me not just mentally but physically too. Though we didn't know about the full extent of the physical repercussions until almost a year later. After the miscarriage we waited a bit to let my body heal from the trauma it had been through and honestly I needed to mentally wrap my head around what we had been through. For anyone who's had a miscarriage you all know that it's hard to comprehend that you were pregnant and then you weren't, that there was a baby there and now it's gone, and there really is no solid reason why. After I had time to at least mostly recover we started trying again to have a baby. I kind of figured it would be easy for us considering the first time around I had been on birth control when we got pregnant. Looking back at it all now that was definitely wishful thinking.
The first few months of trying I just kept telling myself it was normal for it to take a while to get pregnant, even if you are tracking. The weird thing for me was that my cycles were super irregular. Years ago when I wasn’t on birth control I had the most regular cycle that I could tell you down to the hour when my period was going to start. Yet all of a sudden this wasn’t the case. Again, I just kept telling myself that it was normal, that it most likely had something to do with the miscarriage and that things would eventually go back to normal. But every month things were the same or worse. I finally turned to Dr. Google and decided to search a little on what could cause what I was going through and I had every symptom of having scar tissue. I knew that it was probably a long shot but asked my Obgyn what he thought and he agreed that it was worth checking out so he ordered an HSG.
I really had no idea what an HSG was when it was ordered and I went in not really knowing what to expect. In short detail, they insert dye into the uterus and watch whether it flows through the fallopian tubes without getting blocked. I remember laying there watching the dye flow on the screen that the radiologist was watching and seeing the dye stop immediately on my right side. And then when the radiologist confirmed what I saw I was speechless. I am pretty sure I just said thank you to the guy and walked out to my car. I just sat there in my car thinking “you've got to be fucking kidding me.” Later that day my Dr called and told me what the radiologist had already told me and then said that because they couldn't confirm that the scar tissue blockage was definitely due to my miscarriage insurance would just classify this as infertility and wouldn't cover any surgery to remove it. I was devastated. There are no other words to describe how you feel when your doctor tells you your “sub-fertile”. After getting pregnant on accident, now I was on the other end of the spectrum.
Fertility treatments and surgery weren’t an option for us, mostly for monetary reasons. We resolved to just keep trying the “normal” way and maybe someday it would happen for us. At this point I was still tracking but I was quickly starting to feel that it was pointless. There was no way to know which side I was ovulating from so for all I knew it wouldn’t even matter that month. By the time we were nearly at a year of trying I decided to back off on the tracking but to also start acupuncture. I figured at the very least it would help to relax me. I went to one of the best fertility acupuncturists around, Dr. Ray Rubio, and everything that he did for me was above and beyond what I had expected. In my first appointment with him he straight forward told me to stop calling myself infertile or even sub-fertile because it would get me no where. If I kept that mindset that alone would work against me and I needed to remind myself that I have been pregnant once before. He told me that he felt that my body had just been through a lot of trauma and it needed time to heal. I know it may sound corny but it was one of the things that I needed to hear the most after a year of feeling so down on myself. The idea that my body had done it once before so why couldn’t it do it again. That, to some extent, became my mantra and I would remind myself of that every time I started to get down.
Now mind you, my “mantra” definitely wasn’t fool proof and some time in June 2016 I remember having a major breakdown. By major I truly mean major. I started a stupid fight with my husband over something trivial because I had so much pent up stress about “my stupid body” and by the end of the fight I was sitting on the ground sobbing in my husband’s arms. We agreed that if by August we still weren’t pregnant we would look in to next potential steps. That month I just “gave” up. My husband was supposed to be gone most the month because of bike races and I was 100% sure that there was no way it would happen so I just made every attempt to forget about it. Towards the end of the month I started feeling what I assumed were PMS symptoms but, as is always the case when you are trying to get pregnant, a little part of me hoped that they were pregnancy symptoms. I remember at one point I was at a friends house hanging out by her pool and her little boy wanted me to pick him up. I bent down to pick him up and he slammed straight in to my upper body and breasts and it was painful. And a different kind of painful then typical PMS pain but I didn’t want to think about it and I attempted to just ignore it.
July 4th rolled around and it was supposed to be the first day of my period but with the irregular cycles that I have I knew that it was a maybe and a good chance it would be the wrong day. One of our best friends had invited us to a BBQ and we were planning on going. I felt absolutely ridiculous taking the test but I figured what could it hurt. If it was negative it would be like every other month so whatever and I could go to the party and have a margarita and try to forget about it. I remember taking the test and setting it on our bathroom floor and walking away. I wasn’t about to sit there and watch it not show me that elusive pink line. I started doing things around our bedroom and actually had forgotten that it was sitting there. It was when I happened to walk back in to the bathroom that I looked down and saw it sitting there. At first glance I just thought “oh yeah, I should throw that out” but then as I took a step closer I felt my whole body go numb. It was like I was moving in slow motion as I bent down to pick up that test, I probably stared at it for a good minute or two, in disbelief. I then promptly dropped it and went running downstairs to tell my husband. I believe my exact words were “it worked, it finally worked, were having a baby!” No cutesy tell your husband announcements for us, when you’ve waited as long as we did I couldn’t have waited longer then the 2 minutes I did to tell him.
That moment makes it in to the top 10 best moments of my life. For anyone who is struggling to get pregnant that long awaited pink line is something you have dreamt about every single day. You think of how you will react, how you will tell your husband, etc. But when it does finally happen it does not go the way you expect it to, and if anything it is a million times better. On days when, like today, my son seems like he is on one and determined to press every single one of my buttons I will sit back and remember everything I went through to have him in my arms and it is like all my anger melts away. Tonight as he fell asleep in my arms I held him a little closer and smelled his sweet little head and I knew that everything happened the way it was supposed to.
For those of you out there struggling to get pregnant I’m not going to tell you any of those stupid tips like relax, stop trying so hard, or your not trying hard enough. That isn’t my place and honestly anytime someone said those things to me I wanted to strangle them. I will say this though, don’t give up on yourself or your body. As I said before, it may seem corny, but make a mantra for yourself, to tell yourself on those days when you feel like it’s all pointless. And last but not least remember the one thing that my mother has told me for as long as I can remember “Everything happens the way it’s supposed to.” I have a love/hate relationship with this quote but as I get older the love for it gets stronger and honestly no one can deny the truth of it.